The Street Fighter video game provokes a powerful nostalgia amongst a certain generation, but attempts to translate the game’s mythology into a live-action movie has not been terribly successful so far, with most people having less than fond memories of the 1994 feature starring Jean-Claude Van Damme and Kylie Minogue. Street Fighter Assassin’s Fist is an attempt to bring the franchise to a grittier, real world style affair.
Street Fighter Assassin’s Fist began as series of 15-minute videos on YouTube and this feature length release re-splices it all into one long movie. Part of the problem is the length; cramming all these weekly episodes together means that the movie lasts for a whopping 146 minutes. Though this gives the movie a steady pace, it is quite slow. The plot is pretty low-key and serves as an origin story of sorts. The plot covers the last phase of Ryu and Ken's training under Gôken; basically all the really cool stuff like chucking around balls of energy and performing jumping uppercuts. As they train, they begin to discover more about Gôken's past, and his darker secrets. The story moves back and forth between the days of Ryu and Ken training and the days of Gôken’s own training.
We get a lot of background on Ken and Ryu, the iconic fighters from the game, and their training. Their endless training. This makes the viewer yearn for the next actual fight scene.
Fortunately, the bits in which Ken, Ryu or some other character from the franchise beat each other up are brilliantly done. The hadoken fireballs they toss at each other are very well rendered and we get a real visceral feel for the fight scenes, down to every kick and punch. There’s a real sense of the video game here; the moves are so reminiscent of Street Fighter 2 that you find yourself groping for the control pad. Surprisingly, the acting is also rather good and the actors themselves are rather pleasing on the eye. This makes the whole thing feel real.
Despite its flaws, the Street Fighter Assassin’s Fist is an entertaining movie that brings the world of Street Fighter to life. More features like this are planned, and fingers crossed they’ll be able to get the budget to put some of the more fantastic elements of this world onto the screen. But for now, this will do.